I can but don’t parrot the Lord’s prayer. For me, it serves as a model, a how-to prayer. Here’s what we learn of how to pray (Matt. 6:9-13):
- Our Father – not impersonal, unfeeling, but loving family; not an amorphous force field.
- Who art in Heaven – not only inside us, not a human projection, transcendant, above all in power and in person
- Hallowed by thy name – ultimately we serve Him, not He, us
- Thy kingdom come – ultimately the purpose is reaching others for Christ, not filling our whims
- Thy will be done – ultimately, it’s about His will, not ours
- On earth as it is in Heaven – obviously there’s a great lack of perfection here on Earth that we want to realize, just like Heaven is perfect
- Give us this day our daily bread – notice the redundancy (hence it is important to God) or our provision
- Forgive us our trespasses – we humans daily miss the mark of God’s required perfectness, hence we ask forgiveness
- As we forgive those who trespass against us – it is critical for us to forgive others!
- Lead us not into temptation – yeah, good idea to steer clear of that stuff!
- Deliver us from evil – may we not fall prey to merciless destructiveness
- Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory – it’s all His, not ours
my old church in Guatemala today!
Pray along these lines and you’ll do well! The Lord’s prayer tells you to whom you are praying and for what you ought to pray! I think it’s best to use your own words. Keep in mind the start off: He’s our compassionate daddy, not a cruel tyrant or stone-faced taskmaster.
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Tagged Bible prayers, Christ, Christianity, God, how do I pray?, how to pray?, Jesus, Lord's prayer, prayer, prayers from the Bible, Thy Will Be Done
This is for a dear friend, Carol. Jesus loves you!
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words — Matt. 6:7 NASB.
It seems clear enough to me that there is no right way to pray, no right words, no right syntax. God looks at the heart. As a matter of fact, Rom. 8:28 suggests that “groaning” can be prayer. I’d say God definitely looks at the heart and understands even the unspoken. So there’s no “aberacadabra.” Your attitude is what counts.
Some kids at my church.
I remember when I was in junior high, we said the pledge of allegiance every day. Truthfully, I mouthed the words from memory without weighing their significance. It was perfunctory, a civic ritual void of civic feeling. Maybe you said the pledge with burning passion everyday. I wish I could say that of myself. It was more like playing a recording.
So prayer ought to be with the burning passion. If you repeat “the Lord’s prayer,” savor its every word. Otherwise, dissect it, understand it completely like a Shakespearian sonnet, and follow it’s patterns with original prayers. In my next post, I’ll give you a quick dissection of the Lord’s prayer, which I personally use more as a example than a magical formula.
Posted in Bible prayers
Tagged Christianity, effective prayers, Faith, how do I pray?, how to pray?, Lord's prayer, pray, prayers in the Bible, prayers of the Bible, prayers that succeed, prayers that work